Self-defense asserted in 2010 slaying
The prosecution demonstrated the precision of the killing whilethe defense worked to build a case of self-defense on the openingday of a young Lincoln County man’s murder trial Tuesday.
Defense attorney Joe Fernald broke down evidence and worked onwitnesses in an attempt to prove 22-year-old Andrew Hammond actedin self-defense when he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend’sfather at her residence on the night of March 12, 2010. The defenseargued William “Bubba” Thompson, 45, was an ill-tempered man on amission to do violence when he entered 21-year-old Gena Thompson’smobile home looking for Hammond and was felled by a singlegunshot.
“Mr. Hammond continues to assert his actions were inself-defense, and we will prove that,” Fernald said in his openingstatement.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Jones told the jury Hammond”gunned Bubba down” and his actions were not in self-defense.
“What he was actually doing was taking an opportunity to get ridof the man who was standing in the way of what he wanted,” saidJones, referring to Hammond and Gena Thompson’s relationship.
Gena Thompson testified her father entered her mobile home thatFriday night and cursing in his hunt for Hammond, whom she said herfamily disapproved of because he was still married and goingthrough a divorce while living with her. She said the deceased wentthrough the home “banging the doors open” until he found Hammondhiding in the master bedroom, the room from which he reportedlyfired a single round from a .40-caliber Glock pistol that struckWilliam Thompson beneath the right arm pit and killed him.
She said she had instructed Hammond to take refuge in thebedroom when their evening of movie-watching was interrupted by aloud knock at the door that turned out to be Bubba Thompson. GenaThompson said her father asked if Hammond was at the residence andbegan a search.
The search lasted less than one minute before the shot rang outand she found her father bleeding in the home’s hallway. GenaThompson said her father told her he had been shot by Hammond andto go get her mother, who lived a few houses down Harbor Lane inBogue Chitto.
Fernald’s case of self-defense hinged on two points – a pastaltercation between Hammond and Bubba Thompson and the defendant’sright to be in the home where the killing occurred.
Gena Thompson testified Hammond lived with her first from Augustto November 2009, but was thrown out by Bubba Thompson after aone-sided fight on Nov. 12 that year. She said her father and anuncle hid outside the residence that night and jumped Hammond inthe yard.
“When we walked outside, the door closed and daddy jumped onDrew,” she said. “He had Drew down on the ground, laying on him andsitting there punching him.”
Answering Fernald’s line of questioning, she testified Hammondwould not have been able to free himself from her father’s attack,which ended only when the uncle stepped in to break it up. Theuncle was accidentally struck by a punch in the process. BubbaThompson then made Hammond leave the premises by walking down theroad, she said.
Gena Thompson said Hammond moved back in around Dec. 1 andcontinued to reside at her mobile home during his weeks off from anoffshore job. He supplied a washer and dryer for the residence andpaid most of the bills during the four-month stay, she said. Whenasked, she would tell her father she still talked to Hammond”sometimes.”
“Safe to say (Hammond) had your permission and the right to bein your house?” Fernald asked her. “Matter of fact, who bought thechicken that was being cooked that night (March 12) fordinner?”
It was Hammond.
While Fernald’s most intense line of questioning was directed atGena Thompson and dealt with the history of the relationship, Jonesseemed to make the most headway establishing the facts of the crimescene.
Under her questioning, Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy StewartThornton testified there were no signs of forced entry when hearrived on the scene shortly after 10 p.m. on March 12, and thatHammond did not resist arrest.
“The subject was hollering, ‘The gun’s on the bed, the gun’s onthe bed. Don’t shoot,'” when Thornton arrived in the home’sbedroom, he said. “We put him down and handcuffed him, and heasked, ‘Was he dead?’ I assumed it was the gentleman who wasshot.”
Jones also led forensic pathologist Dr. Amy Gruszecki to testifythe shot that killed Bubba Thompson was fired from a distance andfrom the side. She said her autopsy found no evidence of powderburns or soot in the wound characteristic of contact gunshot wounds- those fired from extremely close range – and the bullet enteredhis body traveling right to left at a down angle of approximately10 degrees.
Fernald briefly questioned the doctor about the possibility ofBubba Thompson lunging toward the shot.
“No matter which direction the deceased was lunging, the bulletcame in from the side,” Gruszecki said. “(The bullet) didn’t haveany back-to-front movement. It was straight across.”
John Hall, Jr., an investigator with the sheriff’s department,described the Glock pistol deputies recovered, along with a spentshell casing, live round cleared from the weapon by deputies,13-capacity magazine with 12 rounds loaded and a second,fully-loaded magazine in the kitchen.
The court was shown several videos of the bloody crime scene anda digital video Hall shot during his investigation. He alsotestified Hammond had previously used an address other than GenaThompson’s at 2254 Harbor Lane.
The trial was scheduled to resume Wednesday morning. It was notclear when it is expected to conclude.